Accountants can already start using only long-form bank account numbers

At a meeting on Friday of the Estonian Payment Environment Forum in Eesti Pank, the central bank, the Estonian Banking Association, the Ministry of Finance and representatives of market participants discussed the state of preparations for the single pan-European payment conditions. Representatives of business confirmed that companies are more aware of the changes than they were in September, but more help is needed from the banks if the changes are to be made on time. The banks themselves are on schedule with their preparations.

From February 2014 it will only be possible to use bank account numbers in the IBAN international format when making invoices and payments in Estonia, domestic direct debits will be used instead of the e-invoice standing order service, and some banks should launch a SEPA direct debit service, which is only intended for cross-border payments. The banks are on schedule with the changes for credit transfers and e-invoice standing orders, but the SEPA direct debit is a new service that will take time to bed in and it will only be available to bank clients a little later.

“As the banks can all support the use of IBANs already, we suggest that accountants and bookkeepers issue invoices using only the long form of their bank account number. This will certainly make it easier to get used to the changes in the new year”, said Madis Müller, Deputy Governor of Eesti Pank.

The business association representatives said that after the Ministry of Finance sent out reminders to some 136,000 businesses in September, awareness had increased among small businesses. Mr Müller underlined the need for businesses to make the necessary changes now, working with software companies and banks where needed. “Companies can already try sending payments to their bank as files, and they should contact their bank about doing this. We recommend that companies take a pro-active approach to this”, said Mr Müller.

Guidelines and advice on the necessary changes can be found on the website of the Estonian Banking Association.

The Estonian Payment Environment Forum was founded jointly in April 2012 by Eesti Pank, the Estonian Banking Association and the Ministry of Finance. The forum is chaired by Eesti Pank. More detailed information about the Forum, including the topics discussed there and the participants, can be found in Estonian at www.pangaliit.ee/maksefoorum.

Further information on SEPA can be found on the Eesti Pank website at http://www.eestipank.ee/en/payment-systems/single-euro-payments-area-sepa.

For further information:
Ingrid Mitt
Public Relations Office
Tel: +372 668 0965, +372 512 6843
Email: ingrid.mitt [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries:press [at] eestipank.ee